Ruapehu diners can expect to see certificates displayed by food sellers as part of the introduction of the council's new food premises grading system.
The grading system will mean all shops, restaurants and cafés throughout the Ruapehu District who sell prepared food will be given either an A, B, D or E grade which needs to be prominently displayed for customers to see.
Ruapehu District Council's group manager of community services Margaret Hawthorne said the grading of food premises is being introduced by an increasing number of councils around New Zealand to better enable people to make informed decisions when choosing food outlets.
"The first of Ruapehu's food grade certificates are now being sent out to food premises that have completed the grading process," she said.
"With a large tourism and hospitality sector, Ruapehu has around 240 businesses involved with the sale of prepared food and 58 have completed their assessment so far with 87 per cent receiving an A grade rating."
Premises that have not reached an A standard have been issued a preliminary grade certificate and have the opportunity to make the necessary changes to their processes and be reassessed before a final grade is issued.
Hawthorne said it should be noted that the grading looks at a range of criteria including personal hygiene, temperature control, food protection, cleaning and sanitising, staff training, documentation and assessment of their general premises.
"Premises that do not get an A grade may have failed on any one or a number of these criteria."
She said in addition to giving people confidence in the standards of food, the introduction of the grading system is helping to support and reinforce the requirements of the new Food Act which has recently come into force.
"Council's environmental health team has been giving every assistance to food businesses to help them meet the A grade certificate standard."
The intention is to see every food premise operator in Ruapehu displaying an A grade certificate when the introduction of the new food premises grading system is fully implemented in mid-November.